There is a collective frustration among basketball fans as the NBA owners and players hold the season hostage to labor negotiations. As a whole the NBA lost money. There have been inane arguments at various sports news outlets saying that NBA owners don’t get into basketball for the money. For them it’s more like a billion dollar toy. Here’s a quote from The Nets and NBA Economics by Malcom Gladwell
But Stern’s success does not change how strange the NBA position is. There is first of all the hilarious assumption that owning a basketball franchise is a business — at least as that word is used outside of, say, the president’s mansion in Pyongyang.1
It’s weird that no one makes comparisons like this in the NFL. Is that because it’s the most profitable sport in the U.S.? Why can’t owners make money? If the league can’t at the very least pay for itself then the league as it stands is unsustainable. If the NBA is supported by a bunch of puerile billionaires who fancy losing their fortunes on basketball isn’t that a flimsy foundation for a worldwide sport? It’s definitely true in some instances. I’m a Clipper fan and I’m positive Donald Sterling is crazy. But I do not believe that the majority of the NBA is the flawed product of deranged billionaires.
NBA ownership declared that they lost $340 million last season across the NBA. The players dispute this chalking it up to fancy accounting. However, either way the NBA was not profitable. The NBA is a business that employs vendors, technicians, artists, accountants, executives and yes players. All of them stand to lose if this lock out continues. While the NBA players themselves are the final product they are overpaid. In fact they are the highest paid athletes in the world. Whose fault is that? The owners; employees should always try and get the best salary they can. It’s up to the owners to know when too much is enough.
NBA players are paid on average $92,199. Oh wait that’s only an average week’s pay. On the year NBA players get paid $4.79 million. The current labor deal gives NBA players 57% of Basketball-related revenue.
The players have proposed revenue sharing which if the league were profitable would be nice. But with a league that loses money no matter how you share the revenue the league will still lose money.
Both sides are culpable in this lockout. I hope cooler heads prevail and that the players and the owners will be able to make concessions to allow the NBA season to continue. I’m only an artist but in my estimation an unprofitable business plan is nothing but a plan to fail.
Great interview by By Simmons: